Indonesian Air Force is investigating the purchase of AugustaWestland VVIP helicopter reportedly worth U$55 million (Rp741 billion) despite rejecting the deal.
“The investigation team is currently preparing documents related to the procurement plan for the purchase of the helicopter, which was manufactured in the UK and Italy,” Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto was quoted as saying by Antara News Thursday.
The investigation covers planning, budget, and purchase of the helicopter, Tjahjanto added. However he did not mention any time frame having been set.
The AW-101 helicopter was purchased by utilizing the Air Forces' budget for meeting the initial requirement of a VVIP vehicle for President Joko Widodo.
Though it was ordered for the president, he disagreed since it was expensive. Hence the order was cancelled.
However, through a letter sent to the Ministry of Defense on July 29, 2016, the Air Force proposed to purchase an AW-101 helicopter for search and rescue missions as well as for other military uses. The helicopter had arrived at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.
Last year the Defense Industry Policy Committee (KKIP) had strongly criticized the Air Force for making the purchase. "There should be law enforcement from the national leadership so that everyone obeys the laws in practice," said Defense Industry Policy Committee (KKIP) head Adm. (Ret.) Sumardjono during December last week.
Sumardjono expressed his disappointment, saying that a helicopter had been purchased from a foreign entity when vehicles with equal specification were produced domestically.
"If domestic resources can fulfill the demand for our primary weaponry system, why would we purchase foreign products on the grounds of technical specifications," said the former Navy chief of staff.